3 Year Old Male Lab (not neutered) Just Started Snapping at 17yo Son

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Rachelle Smiley, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. Rachelle Smiley

    Rachelle Smiley Registered Users

    Mar 23, 2020
    I have a small family of four, me, husband 14YO daughter and 17YO son. My lab (Moose) all of the sudden, as in LAST night has growled and snapped at my son three different times. I was there all 3 times, all 3 times I wasn't really paying attention. I did see my son try to pet him each time. I don't get it, my son has a gentle, kind, and calm demeanor. I keep trying to think what is different, everyone is home because of COVID 19, we are normally at home at work. My son has been in his room from 8am-11pm playing endless games of Fortnite and screaming at the game. I just don't understand, my son loves him, he has always been good to him. He hasn't done this to me, my husband, or daughter.

    Has anyone dealt with this before? Does he need to be neutered? Does my son need to spend more time with him?

    He is not injured.
    He was not abused-we have had him since 8wk.
    Perfectly healthy.
  2. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

    May 10, 2011
    The first thing to say is this is most unlikely to be related to the fact that your dog is not neutered. As your son was trying to pet the dog each time, it's more likely that your dog has a pain of some kind. Could the dog have a sore ear for example? Good tempered dogs don't normally suddenly become snappy unless either provoked, or in pain, or unwell. Normally, if a dog is snapping and the family can't see why, I would suggest an urgent consultation with a behaviorist. But that obviously can't happen in the current pandemic. So, you'll need to make sure your son stops petting the dog for now. And get your son to interact with the dog in a different way. He could for example train the dog to do a simple trick. Such as turning in a circle, or he could teach the dog to touch his hand with his nose.

    These are stressful times for everyone and your dog's almost certainly going to sense the stress in members of the household as well as feeling stressed by the changes taking place around him. Using the method in those links will help build a bond of trust between your son and your dog. Regular training sessions will give the dog's day structure and help reassure him. Give the dog a good check over to make sure nothing hurts and telephone your vet if there is anything you are worried about in that respect.
  3. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

    Feb 8, 2016
    Portland, Oregon & Mt Hood Oregon
    I agree with Pippa. My first thought is that your dog has some sort of pain or injury. Years ago I had a young Malamute who suddenly started growling at us if we got close. A trip to a vet did not revel anything (Poor Vet I think) but after a few days it seemed that he had a sore back. In a week or so the problem went away and he was back to his old independent self.

    We dog sit a Samoyed most days, and occasionally he will yelp, when one of his ears is rubbed. We and his owner can't find a cause, and don't know exactly what we do to cause the reaction. He doesn't growl but he is obviously distressed by something that we can't identify.

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